Rosenthal: Brett Anderson to sign with Cubs

UPDATE (10:00 PM)

This is a pretty low risk deal for the Cubs. Hard to argue with their thinking here. If Anderson gets $10M, then that is probably a good thing for Anderson and the Cubs.

From earlier…

Brett Anderson left a bit of a hint on his Twitter account today.

And then Ken Rosenthal tweeted there is a deal in place…

We here at Cubs Den have written about Anderson quite a bit, both back when the Cubs were finding players to sign and flip and as recently as just before the 2015 season, when he signed with the Dodgers (link). His name surfaced again last week when Buster Olney speculated on the idea…

Anderson, a 28 year old lefty, has always been a promising young pitcher since his days with Oakland, but he just hasn’t been able to stay healthy since his breakout 2009 season in which he went 11-11 with a 406 ERA (3.69 FIP).  Since then he has had just one full season.  That was in 2015 with the Dodgers when he went 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA (3.94 FIP)

Considering the Cubs are really just looking for depth and looking into a 6 man rotation, the injury history is not as concerning.  After all, the Cubs just recently bid on Tyson Ross, who is coming off thoracic outlet surgery.  If Anderson can just give the Cubs some solid innings and keep the rotation fresh, I’m happy with this signing.  If he can stay healthy as he did in 2015, then it could end up being a steal, especially since Anderson’s ground ball rate (58% career) and a 66% rate in 2015 would be a great fit for what may be the best defensive infield in baseball.

Anderson would make it 40 on the Cubs roster and it is likely they are done with major signings.  Their pitching staff now looks something like this…

Starters

  • Jon Lester (L)
  • Jake Arrieta
  • Kyle Hendrics
  • Jon Lackey
  • Brett Anderson (L)
  • Mike Montgomery (L)

Bullpen

  • Wade Davis
  • Hector Rondon
  • Pedro Strop
  • Justin Grimm
  • CJ Edwards
  • Brian Duensing (L)
  • Koji Uehara

e tng

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  • fb_avatar

    Who, when healthy, is the better pitcher, Ross or Anderson?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Due to his age and injuries. Its really not close, at 100%, its Tyson Ross, but that doesn't mean Brett Anderson is chopped liver!

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Anderson is younger than Ross and when healthy I'd take Anderson. I'd also say when both are healthy it's close.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Ross, but Anderson has always had pretty good peripherals. Just can't stay on mound.

  • fb_avatar

    Come on down Brett Anderson.

    Welcome to Chicago.

  • Ross

  • Solid. Funny, that. If he gives us a dozen half-decent starts we'll be ecstatic.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    For what he will be asked to do, yeah, I think this is a pretty good gamble. His GB% fits perfectly.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John - what is the scouting report on Anderson? What sort of stuff does he have?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    My first thought was that Anderson's starts are another obvious opportunity for Baez to start at second for defensive range, just as Lester's starts are an opportunity for Baez and his tagging abilities on steal attempts.

  • In reply to ericccs:

    I thought about that two. Almost included it in the article, actually.

  • Just 10 starts in the season lessens the load of the 5 presumed starters by 2 each for the year. Assuming 11 innings saved per starter, that gives 2 more playoff starts under "normal" starters load for the core starters. Effectively, the starters would not reach playoff starters load until the world series (assuming division crown, 1st & 2nd round wins). That's a huge benefit. Another 5 starts means even more for keeping the starters fresh for the playoffs. Maybe my hope for the tandem 5th starter (4 innings each) will arrive some day.

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    In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I am curious to see if a MLB manager will ever do a "piggy-back start." Part of me wouldn't put an inning limit on it. I would say "You get 75 pitches" or "You get 2x through the order." It would give the pitcher extra encouragement to be a little better.

  • fb_avatar

    Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, Lackey and ...Anderson? Would he start or will Montgomery or even Rob Z? This could be in line with Joe's desire to have a 6 man rotation, at for part of the year. This strengthens our staff and being a ground ball pitcher is perfect for our infield. I'd say this is a very good pickup. Thanks Theo and Co.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I like the idea of the 6 man rotation every other 4-5 weeks. Preferably use the 6 man when there are no scheduled off days.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Agreed. That stretch in June/July really hurt when they played something like 20-25 games in a row.

  • I like this signing for what it is, a gamble on an injury-prone pitcher with mid-rotation potential when healthy. We may look back on it as a steal. But I think our issue is with quality depth, and Anderson's extensive injury history may not address that issue. I hope this doesn't give a false sense of security. I think there is still work to be done, and I'm sure the FO is well aware of that.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Is he really potentially better then Hanmmel?

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    In reply to willycat:

    I think the ability is pretty similar. Hammel, on his game, is pretty darn good. I think part of the appeal of it is that if he is off it is a much cheaper contract. If he is on/healthy, I believe he is better than Hammel.

  • fb_avatar

    I just read the update on his contract. That's a very reasonable deal and with incentives it bodes very well for the Cubs if he does makes all the incentives.

  • This pretty much takes away the idea of resigning wood, but I like this.. if he shows up and looks good It gives you the option of moving montgomery back to the pen.. I'm sure they are done but if the right deal presented itself go after a young controlled starter and move montGomery over..

  • In reply to CUBSRADYNASTY:

    I'd like to see one more proven starter with a minor-league option, and I'm confident we'll find one by (or during) spring training. I think that big deal for the young, controlled TOR guy will happen at the deadline or next off-season. By then, hopefully Happ, Jimenez, and/or Candelario will have raised their value to the point of being the centerpiece of a deal, rather than having to deal from the big-league roster. But like you said, it could all depend on when the right deal presents itself.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    That is going to be difficult since, I believe, our 40-man roster is full. Not that we couldn't put someone on waivers, but it might mean we lose someone. And there is not much left. I am guessing that at the "depth piece" you are looking for will come in the form of Rob Z. or maybe Jake Buchanan, maybe even Aaron Brooks.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs sign 1-2 more guys to minor league contracts and see what happens. Some veteran hanging on by his fingernails and hoping for one last major league round.

    Fortunately, at this point, most teams 40-man rosters are pretty full so it is less likely that someone will get "claimed" than a month or two ago, but that is still a possibility.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yeah, when I said with a minor-league option, I should have added "or on a minor-league deal", which is probably more likely. The kind of veterans that you mention who don't make the cut out of spring training is exactly what I mean. I have faith in Zastryzny, I'd just feel more comfortable with someone more proven. A guy you could count on to give you five competitive innings for a stretch in case of injury. I don't want to jinx anything, but our big 3 are going into their third year together without injury. There's that whole "law of averages" thing...

    I'm not ruling out the return of Hammel or Wood. Hammel would be a tough fit, so I think he's unlikely, but I could see Wood sliding right back into his previous role. He's been looking for a starting spot, but the market hasn't been there so far. I don't see the money being significantly different from one team to another if he can't land that starters role, and I would think if he's looking at similar roles for similar money, he'd want to return.

    As far as the 40-man, it will be full when Anderson signs, but that can be manipulated. I hate to say it, but Szczur is out of options, and I don't know that we can carry him all year. I'd bet he's traded for a lower-level prospect who won't need to be rostered. We've got Duensing on a $2M deal and Caleb Smith as a Rule 5 guy just to give a couple examples. Then there is the, um, "well-traveled" David Rollins. I'm sure the FO has a plan if someone falls into our lap.

    Speaking of David Rollins and his tumultuous off-season, I just can't help myself, poor guy:

    "Yeah I'll pay your cab fare home,
    You can even use my best cologne,
    Just don't be here in the morning when I wake up".

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I just mentioned not wanting to jinx anything regarding a major injury to Lester, Arrieta, or Hendricks, and I (and many others) have a larger rooting interest. I'll confess a secret fear I've been harboring the last year or so: If one of those guys snapped a UCL, with Cubs in the competitive window they're in, my horror wouldn't only be in their loss, but probably knowing "there goes Javy".

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Bite your tongue and never mention trading Javy again!

    I'm with the above poster who hopes that some of the top AAA guys are ready to headline a deal. I think by mid season Javy will be too valuable. But I understand and share your fear.

  • In reply to Mom2futurecubs:

    We have an old saying in the deep south (and you're in Florida, right) of "Whoa, collar that dog!", meaning not to pick a fight that is unnecessary. I know your comment was tongue-in-cheek, but I was that previous poster who hoped those guys would headline a deal so we didn't have to trade Javy. Remember, I'm a founding member of the "we love Javy" club, and I know you to be a long-time, dedicated member. This is all in fun, but I'm glad you share my concern (and honestly, Mom2, you were one of the ones I was thinking of when I mentioned "and many others"), and I'm glad to have your support.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    You have a fantastic memory. I am in FL and I do love Javy. Sorry about not putting your name to the "above comment" post, I read and read and forget who makes the original statement. And I did mean the comment in a joking matter and I hope you didn't take any offense.

  • In reply to Mom2futurecubs:

    Good grief, Mom2, I've been around. It takes a lot more than that to offend me. I just found it funny you were both scolding me (in jest) and praising me in the same comment. It's all good. You love Javy, and I love Javy. You love the Cubs, and I love the Cubs. You are informed and post intelligent, insightful comments and I, well, sometimes don't. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    BarleyPop, Joel,

    Let's look at it this way. Every year we will bring our 40 man roster down to 30 to 35. This means that anytime we have 5 players that can be released at anytime. Our FO is working every angle and if they find someone that fits better for 2017, they will drop someone. We r so deep in the minors that we have pitchers on the verge on AA as SP and AAA as power relievers. This is just awesome.

    Rob Z and Ryan Williams are knocking on the door. Trevor Clifton is at AA. And A ball is loaded with future major league starters. My prediction: both Rob Z and Ryan Williams will
    Have big years at AAA. I live in Scottsdale so I will go to Mesa in Feb to confirm my belief. Williams is the key to the depth question. Bosio and McLeod like him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I hadn't considered Caleb Smith. We could easily offer him back to the Yankees. But you also make a good point about trading a player on the margins of the 40-man roster.

    But I would love to have T Wood back. If he would sign for somewhere around the same AAV as he had last year it could be a significant addition as he can start in a pinch. It would likely not be a good start and I would want to, as much as possible, hand-pick his opponent (think Reds, Phillies, Padres etc). Plus he is someone that Rizzo can commiserate with. "Hey, Travis, do you remember when we used to LOSE 100 games?"

    Then I wonder whether my desire to have Wood back is merely a manifestation of my lack of faith in Zastryzny. I fully admit that any lack of faith I have in him is fully irrational, or, at least, isn't based on anything specific. I have just been so spoiled by such solid batting prospects that someone coming in as a pitcher without a bunch of fanfare makes me nervous. But, again, this is irrational. And, fortunately, the Cubs FO knows infinitely more about him and their pitching situation than I do.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The Cubs have a full 13 man pitching staff right now.The 6 starters, and 7 relievers (Davis, Rondon, Edwards, Duensing, Strop, Uehara, Grimm) are unlikely to go anywhere. If you sign Wood to an MLB deal, there simply isn't room without moving Grimm.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I don't think Duensing would block the return of Wood if his price tag fell to a level we're comfortable with, IMO. But Duensing does have the service time to refuse one of two remaining options, and couldn't be dealt until June 15. We'd likely have to eat his $2M, basically adding that to whatever Wood signed for. I don't think it's likely, but I wouldn't rule it out. I commented around this time last year about the possible return of Fowler, using the term that he was still there "lingering". Wood, to me, has that same type of feel, though you correctly point out it is a bit crowded and thus a little complicated.

  • In reply to CUBSRADYNASTY:

    They're probably done but yeah, if someone makes an offer they can't pass up then I am sure they will take it. Given pitcher prices today, not optimistic on that front.

  • Do we lose a draft pick?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    No all the qualifying offered players have been signed

  • In reply to SFToby:

    No. Anderson was not given a qualifying offer. He surely would have taken it if it had been offered.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    There was an article (mlbtraderumors?) that said he had received a QO in 2015 and that threw me off a little bit.

  • I think Rob Z will see a few critical starts after June. Confident in him.

  • fb_avatar

    If he throws 50 good innings, it's a deal. 50 is a quarter season. $3.5 million for a quarter season is $14 for a full, which is pretty much MOR production, right?

    I'm guessing if he throws 100 quality innings, they'll do backflips, plus Anderson will earn his incentives.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Glen Krisch:

    I am guessing it is a little more tiered than that. Maybe for $3.5M he has to throw 100 IP. If he gets it to 150 IP he gets a $2.5M bonus ($6M). If he throws 175 he gets an ADDITIONAL $2M ($8M). If he throws 200 IP he gets a final $2M bonus ($10M).

    Honestly, I wish more contracts were set up this way. Though it is obvious why players may not be excited to sign such a contract.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I agree that it would be a tiered incentive package. Even so, I would be shocked if the max incentives would hit at 200 IP considering only Lester touched that number last year. I'm guessing more in the 160-180 range.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Glen Krisch:

    I'll grant you that 200 IP may be high (though there is nothing to say it isn't that high--encourage the player to bet hard on himself). My point was that I doubt that he will get a $6.5M bonus when he reaches something. That seems awfully steep for both player (what if he comes up 2/3 of an inning short?) or the team ("Hey, Maddon, would you mind pulling Anderson after 7.2IP today if he makes it that far? Thanks.")

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Many have rode the pine to save money. Especially if their team is out of it and they couldn't be moved. That said for a P coming off injury it's a chance to get market value.

  • Meh.

    Do we really need Anderson?

    Really was hoping they'd bring back Travis Wood. Nothing against Anderson, but Id rather have Wood. So, meh.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Anderson definitely has the higher upside and I feel like Wood could be a cheap trade deadline pickup if, god forbid, injuries hit us hard

  • In reply to TTP:

    Wood hasn't been an effective starter since 2013. Righties have killed him recently. Anderson gives them a legit starting pitcher as long as he is healthy (which is obviously a big if with him).

  • While I get the sentiment that Anderson reaching all of his incentives would mean he pitched well and the Cubs would be happy, I think the only way he gets a chance to throw that many innings would be because something bad happened to one of the other starters. So let me just say... I hope Brett Anderson makes 3.5M next year.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I agree with the exception of Anderson replacing Montgomery. I think Montgomery's command is a bit shaky for a starter (especially when he gets into the 4th to 6th innings) and if Anderson is healthy (and I really like that Rosenthal states he impressed in a bullpen session recenty) he may be better option that Monty.

  • In reply to couch:

    Yes, that is a possibility. But again, that means that Montgomery fails. I don't want that. I want everyone (including Anderson) to succeed and stay healthy and that means there probably wouldn't be a ton of innings for Anderson as I doubt they would go with a 6 man rotation the entire season. But maybe they will. In which case... go get those bonuses.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I believe there is a possibility that Monty is very good but Anderson is even better. Or that the Cubs like Monty in the bullpen more than Anderson. That would be 2 scenarios I find believable where Anderson could achieve his incentives (we are assuming they are connected with "health/effectiveness" such as games started, or IP, or "days not on the DL" or something like that) and not have something "bad" happen to the pitching staff. Something similar to Hendricks and Arrieta. Arrieta was good this year--though.admittedly, not 2015 good. Hendricks was even better.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    My thinking is spread the innings by using a 6 man rotation. My guess is Lackey could have a reduced workload due to shoulder issues. Let's hope he rebounds to 150 innings. I would be ecstatic. Our top starters at 180 innings, would be incredible.
    Let's repeat. And let's get selfish extend Jake and get a 3rd.

  • This is interesting, and will be interesting what he has in the tank come Spring Training. They guy really has a young arm, 123 IP 2010-2014, sandwiched between 175 in 2009 and 180 IP in 2015, 11 IP last year.

    My guess is that there is a lot of hope he can take the ball when called upon. Bet he starts on the DL,

  • The Anderson signing is fine, clearly they needed to get another arm in the mix, but I'm really pretty fearful about this starting staff. It just does not appear to be enough. Arrieta was not good last year despite the numbers, Hendricks looks like a classic case for regression and who knows about Lackey? Also people forget how good Hammel was early, does Montgomery have that in him? Anderson? That's not even talking about an inevitable injury after these pitchers all being healthy for 2 years. If we didn't have a World Series at our backs I would probably be in a panic right about now.

  • In reply to TC154:

    This team does not need dominant starting pitching (in the regular season). Their defense and offense is going to be top 5. They just need a couple of the big three to be pitching well come playoff time. If that does not appear likely at the deadline, the team will go out and get a front line starter.

    There is no deal that this team can make right now that would make you feel better about the playoff rotation. Just relax and enjoy the ride.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    There are deals you could make that would make you feel better about the rotation.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Without eviscerating some other part of the roster? No, I don't think there is.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I see things differently. It's a walk year for Arrieta, and I expect him to come in highly motivated. Lester seems like one of those guys with a body and form that are just built to eat up innings and perform well. Hendricks: I love the fact that people still question him. Coming out of AAA, with the ridiculous numbers he put up, I thought it was a joke that he was typically given an average ranking among Cub prospects. I see him being even better. Yes, I said it. Lackey...not sure there. He's getting long in the tooth, but should throw 190+. Montgomery; man, I like that cat. Is there a better fifth starter in the league? And hey, I'm bullish on Rob Z! Granted, it will be hard to repeat 2016, but I think the staff will be nails again.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I've been a fan of Jon Lester since he came in the league with Boston and have been thrilled with him since he got her. Dude is nails, which is why I didn't mention him. Arrieta I have a bad feeling about but I sure hope you're right and the logic behind the walk year argument is solid. Montgomery I like as well but he's unproven as a starter. As far as Hendricks goes, I love what he's done but even better? I just don't about that. Most projections had him as a BOR starter and he was a Cy Young candidate last year. Was everyone wrong or did he overachieve? With my worry wart nature when it comes to pitching it's not surprising that I'm afraid he overachieved. Seriously though I like your positive attitude. I'm worried but I still think this a great team and they have the assets if something goes wrong. We'll just have to let it all play out.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I've seen projections of Hendricks that claim it is essentially impossible for him to repeat last year. It was a career year, period. I just don't buy it. I think he's heading toward his peak years. He's strategically so smart, and his "stuff" is wildly undervalued. And he's backed by the best defense in the league. I see him being one of the top five pitchers in the league. So yes, I think the analysts have been wrong about him, expect Sutcliff, who pegged how good he'd be early. It still chaps my hide a bit that Maddon pulled him in games seven.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Assuming Hendricks can stay healthy - and with his smooth delivery & mechanics, and the fact that he's not a power pitcher to begin with that's likely IMO - why wouldn't he be able to at least approach his 2016 performance in 2017?

    He's still got a fantastic defense behind him and is as efficient at getting batters out as anybody in the league. His command/control has gotten better each season and even if he has 'peaked', there's no reason to expect him to regress.

    Is he going to lead the league in ERA next season? Maybe not - but there's no reason to expect it to balloon out of control either.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    MLB network had a special segment on this week regarding some next level pitching stat working being completed called true era. Trying to improve on fip and xfip by trying to quantify just how random babip truly is based on the quality of a hitters contact. Long story short, the data is sorta approach based vs outcome based. Did they hit it hard and at the right launch angle that typically produces hits vs found a hole. Hendricks was one of the best in baseball with this metric, so I guess my point is he is good, and every time we say he isn't as good as he is, he gets better. So I'm pretty much to the point where Kyle Hendricks performance doesn't surprise me anymore.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to kb60187:

    THAT would be a very good stat in my mind.

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    In reply to TC154:

    My favorite thing about Hendricks is looking at his "peripherals" he was the same pitcher last year as he was before. Check out his FIP, xFIP, HR/9IP, BB/9IP, K/9IP. None of them was extraordinarily different than previous years. His LOB% was similar to his 2014 which is something that concerns me a little as I don't know that LOB% is much of a "skill" though I may be wrong. And his BABIP was good last year, but that was largely, I believe, a function of the Cubs historic defense. Also, his HR/FB rate was dramatically different in 2015. But overall, he was a very good pitcher in 2014, 2016 and seems to have, largely, run into some bad luck in 2015. Many believe that 2015 is closer to his "norm" but I wonder if 2014, 2016 may be closer. He may have an ERA in the high-2's or Low-3's but that is still pretty darn good. And he is efficient and knows how to induce weak contact and when to pitch to contact and can always pull that change-up out in any count. 2016 may well have been a career year. But I don't think he suddenly turns into a #5 starter.

  • Interesting - probably moves Mike Montgomery back into a swing-man role unless the Cubs think that Anderson is a better fit for that.

    Montgomery is definitely unproven as a potential starter,... Anderson hasn't proven he can stay healthy if given innings,... but two solid Lefties who both have potential. And at a 'max' cost of ~$10 MM to the Cubs for Anderson, a cost-effective addition as long has he can stay at least as healthy as he was in 2015.

  • I love the short term and long term possibilities of this deal. If you start to see success from Anderson, then you can extend him more reasonably than Arrieta. This helps to position for the post Arrieta/Lackey era - Zastryzny stretches out in Iowa & continues to hone. Montgomery swings & piggybacks - both focusing on their control.

    Montgomery seems destined for the Samardzija track. Relieve to starter.

    Uehara's use will be interesting to see. He has been averaging 40 innings the last few years so he will most likely be "DL-ed" a few times to support his success.

    To me the question is do you go with a 12 man staff or a 13 man staff? I can see arguments either way

  • Well said Michael, spot on!

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    I don't worry about Hendricks. Joe says he is so prepared and does so much film study and his mechanics are so clean and his mental toughness is apparent that even if he doesn't lead MLB in ERA I think he approaches last year. Lester will be fine. Lackey might decline quicker than we like, and Jake--he had some really good games but then he falls out of rhythm and loses it. I don't know. Rob Z, Montgomery I feel are good pitchers and will be the whole year and in the playoffs, and a healthy Anderson gives us another great staff. Actually, if I had to project the staff at mid point next year I don't know if Lackey is starting anymore. That's my concern.

  • I'm with Michael on this as well. The way the Cubs are built offensive & defensively they don't need the next ToR just yet. And Anderson has more starting upside than Wood. It's depth with the chance of a diamond in the rough if he stays healthy. Lowish risk w/medium to high reward.

    Wood wants to start, wants more money so I don't see it. Staff already is getting crowded & signing him probably means Duensing is not going to make it &/or Grimm traded. And it's likely both could still happen if Smith makes the team. I just don't see Wood in their plans. We shall see in about 3 weeks or less from now. Cubs!

  • OT, but Dave Cameron at Fangraphs just posted an excellent article attempting to explain the Dodgers' decision to trade a top pitching prospect to fill a hole at 2B. Well worth the read not only for the extensive mention of trying to keep up with the powerhouse (and WORLD CHAMPION) Cubs, but also in explaining how teams in serious contention sometimes have to make the difficult decision to "lose" a trade to remain competitive, something we've already done and will likely face again in the coming years. Sorry no link, my cheap phone usually doesn't cooperate when I try. Maybe someone could help me out.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I believe this is the link:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-dodgers-decision-to-be-intentionally-inefficient/

    I just read the article and I also was thinking it would be good to post here.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Interesting that the Dodgers would be willing to sacrifice 6 years of control with a top 10 prospect for Forsythe, who is a good but not great 2nd baseman. As the article says, this has Cubs written all over it.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Darn, there goes the Cubs chance to dump Baez. Sarcastic alert.

  • In reply to willycat:

    I've already thought about that, but be careful with the sarcasm: we match up in trade better with Tampa than L.A., and now the Rays need a long-term 2B and have even more young stud pitchers. Just sayin'.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Ian Happ? TLS? Chesny Young? Any combination thereof?

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    The Dodgers literally had no one to play 2B and were in serious need of a RH bat to help with their deficiencies against LHP. Obviously they would have preferred Dozier but Minnesota wanted another player, I've seen reports that it was 2B prospect Willie Calhoun, and I think the Dodgers are planning on Calhoun to take over at that spot eventually so trading him was counterproductive. There might have been alternate players the Twins would have been accepted as well but apparently none the Dodgers would give up. Given all that Forsythe was a no brainer. Dozier would have, IMHO, made them a marginally better team than the Cubs but Forsythe at least gets them in the same stratosphere.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Thanks, guys. I'm always a sucker for reading about how awesome the Cubs are, but this article holds particular relevance about trading talent to remain on top.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Cubs likely lose the Chapman trade long term, but it was the right move. Every club has to consider long vs short term in any deal. The balance is struck because contending clubs value the short term more and noncontenders value the long term.

    The Blackhawks have lost most trades for years as they continue to extend their window.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    In the past month or so we've seen two top 10 overall pitching prospects, Giolito and DeLeon, traded for Adam Eaton and Logan Forsythe. Not saying these aren't good players but going into this offseason I would have expected those pitchers to headline a deal for a bigger name. Maybe the value of young cost-controlled pitching is starting to level off a bit.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    I hope so, because I see that blockbuster trade coming in the next year, and my money is on with Tampa. Their M.O. for many years now has been to feed the pitching pipeline and deal guys before they get too expensive. I just don't see the Cubs spending big on a TOR, FA pitcher approaching or past their age-30 season. This FO has been open about not paying for past performance. With all the young core of position players nearing arbitration raises, but locked up through at least 2021, and the positional talent we still have coming, I think a deal for a young stud pitcher is a no-brainer. Just keep your hands off my Javy.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    I haven't seen De Leon, but Giolito has not impressed me when I have seen him. Just no bite on any of his pitches. I think he may be one of those guys where his rep outside the industry is higher than in FOs. Injuries may have robbed him of some of his upside.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Yep. I said that when the trade was done. He is not impressive in person. And his pedigree far outshines his stuff. IMO, he's the 3rd best guy in that trade.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    This is the debate I've had with some. I don't believe that trades are always about acquiring "value." What they mainly are about is where you a team is in the success cycle. So yes, if you are arguably the best team in the league like the Cubs, there may be times you have to "lose" trades.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    That's true, but we have to be careful not to lose too many or lose them too badly.

    I am familiar with the "success cycle." Just out of Curiosity, though, have you read this article: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/success-cycle-is-full-of-crap/ I think he goes too far in his retraction and I do believe there is a place for the success cycle but it isn't the only, or even the best way to build a baseball team.

    Many point to the Yankees winning 4 WS in 5 years (1996, 1998-2000) as a gold standard. However, I look more to the Braves and believe that the fact that they didn't win it all more than 1x in that stretch is amazing. I believe they used a strategy I call "lenticular cloud." Basically, identify the main guys you want to keep (C. Jones, G Maddux, T. Glavine, J. Smoltz) and then make sure there are guys coming up and able to cheaply replace players for little or no cost (or even a savings) to allow the team to retain their best players. My favorite example of this was that they were able to trade David Justice because they had Andruw Jones in the minors ready to take over in the OF. This helped allow the Braves the cash to re-sign their "core" guys. And kept them in contention. They didn't look at Andruw Jones as someone to trade to fill a short term need. They opened a spot for him to play and saved money at the same time.

    There is something to be said for making shrewd trades while in the window of contention (success cycle). And I do still believe in the success cycle. But I believe there is a place for holding onto prospects to take over for guys as their pay continues to climb. We got here through the farm system. And while we are no longer likely in the business of taking top flight draft picks or sign-and-flipping pitchers for prospects the cost of the roster will become VERY high in a couple of years. And retaining or replacing through trade/FA acquisition, will likely also be prohibitively high.

    To me the Success Cycle works best for a small market team, or teams that pretend they are small market like the A's, or the Twins, etc. It doesn't work as well for teams trying to build to compete year-in and year-out (Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc).

    Just my opinion.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    I tried to post and the "administrator" ate it. So I will break my post up into smaller bits and see if it works better. I apologize if the "administrator" spits out the full one later.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Sorry, not matter how I slice and dice my response it keeps getting hung up in the administrator.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Quit using foul language!!! LOL!

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    That's true, but we have to be careful not to lose too many or lose them too badly.

    I am familiar with the "success cycle." Just out of Curiosity, though, have you read this article: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/success-cycle-is-full-of-crap/ I think he goes too far in his retraction and I do believe there is a place for the success cycle but it isn't the only, or even the best way to build a baseball team.

    Many point to the Yankees winning 4 WS in 5 years (1996, 1998-2000) as a gold standard. However, I look more to the Braves and believe that the fact that they didn't win it all more than 1x in that stretch is amazing. I believe they used a strategy I call "lenticular cloud." Basically, identify the main guys you want to keep (C. Jones, G Maddux, T. Glavine, J. Smoltz) and then make sure there are guys coming up and able to cheaply replace players for little or no cost (or even a savings) to allow the team to retain their best players. My favorite example of this was that they were able to trade David Justice because they had Andruw Jones in the minors ready to take over in the OF. This helped allow the Braves the cash to re-sign their "core" guys. And kept them in contention. They didn't look at Andruw Jones as someone to trade to fill a short term need. They opened a spot for him to play and saved money at the same time.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    That's true, but we have to be careful not to lose too many or lose them too badly.

    I am familiar with the "success cycle." I believe that it works well for teams willing to go through a cycle of rebuilds similar to what the Marlins did.

    Many point to the Yankees winning 4 WS in 5 years (1996, 1998-2000) as a gold standard. However, I look more to the Braves and believe that the fact that they didn't win it all more than 1x in that stretch is amazing. I believe they used a strategy I call "lenticular cloud." Basically, identify the main guys you want to keep (C. Jones, G Maddux, T. Glavine, J. Smoltz) and then make sure there are guys coming up and able to cheaply replace players for little or no cost (or even a savings) to allow the team to retain their best players. My favorite example of this was that they were able to trade David Justice because they had Andruw Jones in the minors ready to take over in the OF. This helped allow the Braves the cash to re-sign their "core" guys. And kept them in contention. They didn't look at Andruw Jones as someone to trade to fill a short term need. They opened a spot for him to play and saved money at the same time.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    There is something to be said for making shrewd trades while in the window of contention (success cycle). And I do still believe in the success cycle. But I believe there is a place for holding onto prospects to take over for guys as their pay continues to climb. We got here through the farm system. And while we are no longer likely in the business of taking top flight draft picks or sign-and-flipping pitchers for prospects the cost of the roster will become VERY high in a couple of years. And retaining or replacing through trade/FA acquisition, will likely also be prohibitively high.

    To me the Success Cycle works best for a small market team, or teams that pretend they are small market like the A's, or the Twins, etc. It doesn't work as well for teams trying to build to compete year-in and year-out (Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc).

    Just my opinion.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    It is true that we can lose trades. The trick is to be careful not to lose too many or lose them too badly. My rule of thumb is "Is the organization better than before." And improving likelihood of winning a WS is valuable. But not overpowering in my opinion. It is possible to make a trade that so damages the organization that even if they win the WS that year it was still a bad trade.

    I am familiar with the "success cycle." It can work for teams willing to go through periodic re-builds (Twins, A's, Marlins) but then willing to go "all-in" for a short 1-2 year window. But that isn't the only way to go.

    Many point to the Yankees winning 4 WS in 5 years (1996, 1998-2000) as a gold standard. However, I look more to the Braves and believe that the fact that they didn't win it all more than 1x in that stretch is amazing. I believe they used a strategy I call "lenticular cloud." Basically, identify the main guys you want to keep (C. Jones, G Maddux, T. Glavine, J. Smoltz) and then make sure there are guys coming up and able to cheaply replace players for little or no cost (or even a savings) to allow the team to retain their best players. My favorite example of this was that they were able to trade David Justice because they had Andruw Jones in the minors ready to take over in the OF. This helped allow the Braves the cash to re-sign their "core" guys. And kept them in contention. They didn't look at Andruw Jones as someone to trade to fill a short term need. They opened a spot for him to play and saved money at the same time.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    I don't particularly follow the success cycle for the Cubs. I believe in a "lenticular cloud" theory where we identify a couple very good players and then let everyone else be "role" players around them. The Braves did this. They identified their 3 outstanding starting pitchers, C. Jones as their "core" guys and then made whatever deals were necessary to keep them (and afford them).

    A lenticular cloud is a cloud with different constituent parts (players or water droplets) but the "cloud" itself never moves (stable in space, or winning titles). The Braves were willing to trade from their minor leagues but made sure to keep enough talent to be able to back fill when they had to trade veterans with rapidly escalating contracts (like David Justice).

    That is the theory I prefer. But it is one of the hardest to pull off.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    To me the success cycle works best for teams willing to go through periodic spasms of contention punctuated by rebuilds. Usually "small market" teams (or at least those who act small market) like the A's, Twins, and Marlins of the late-90's/early 2000s.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    OK, that was messy, but I managed to get my thoughts posted in abbreviated form, though not in the best order for reading and I apologize.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    That made sense. Like so many discussions you and I have, I agree with most of what you say, but...

    We have the young positional core under control through 2021, and Contreras and Almora Jr. through 2022. The arbitration raises will begin hitting next year, with Bryant and Russell hitting Super 2 status (I could be wrong on this, forgive me), and all the rest hitting full-force afterwards. It will become prohibitively expensive. Here is where I agreed with cantstandja a few days ago. We may have to decide who we want to keep via full-market free agent contracts, and who we may be able to deal with some control left to fill holes and/or replenish the system. Those decisions will be based largely on what is comimg up through the pipeline. Fortunately, because we have an all-star or future all-star locked into every position for many years, we have the luxury of developing minor-league talent and waiting to trade them at peak value. Our earliest decision may be Heyward, and that isn't our decision. He can opt out after 2018 or 2019 ( vested in '19 with 550 PA, I think). For that reason alone, I think we try to hang onto Eloy.

    We are a big-market team, and I agree we need to identify players we want to keep. Rizzo comes to mind. He's under contract through 2019, with team-friendly options for 2020 and 2021. He's someone I definitely see the Cubs trying to sign to a "career" contract extension. Same with Bryant, whom you have heard me gush over with my stingy "I'm watching a Hall-of-Fame player" compliments. After that, it gets tricky, and very expensive. I can see trading a couple of these guys, pre-free agency and as the talent pipeline allows.

    The part I disagree with is that we have to go through periods of competitiveness and rebuilding. Especially with a big-market budget, I believe it can be sustained, but that depends on management. That gets to the heart of the matter. For all my life, and several lifetimes prior to mine, the Cubs ineptitude was directly linked to poor management and ownership. I believe this current run of success can be maintained, but only under competent guidance. I would hate to think that we regress when Theo leaves or the Ricketts sell the team, but that competent management (or lack thereof) will dictate where we go.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think our disagreement has to do with the problems I had posting my thoughts. That sustained success is what I meant by "Lenticular Cloud." We actually saw, possibly, the first "tough decision" this off-season when we let Fowler leave. To me the best 2017 Cubs team has Fowler in CF. He checks so many boxes that I want checked (switch hitter, lead-off with great PAs, power, takes BB, etc). But signing him would likely mean we would start running short of cash in 2 years rather than 4-5 years. And, because we have someone capable of filling in for relatively low cost (and a pipeline after him in the form of DeWees, Wilson, Hanneman etc.--even though they will likely not all pan out, there is a decent chance one will) it means we will have cash available to possibly give at least one of (maybe multiple of) Bryant and Russell or Baez or Rizzo to stick around. Remember, by the time Bryant is done with his "arbitration years" he will probably be in the $20M/year category (maybe more). So if he wants a raise to $30M that is a RAISE of ~$10M, not an increase in budget of $30M. Depending on how Bryant and the rest's arbitration years pan out we might be in position to absorb some of those increases. But to make that possible we have to have someone capable of stepping in for league-minimum or close to it.

    It is VERY tricky to manage but I think the Cubs FO will be able to do it as well as anyone.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    And I have been told I just plain think differently about baseball than most people. Not that my ideas are original, but that my take on those ideas is original.

    I remember one conversation I had with a baseball fan. He said he would hate to manage against me because he would NEVER know what I was doing. He was pretty sure that my ideas wouldn't work but that he would have to be prepared for me to possibly come up with ANYTHING.

    One of my favorite stories is of Billy Martin. Someone described him as a particularly paranoid individual convinced everyone was going to try diabolical tricks to take advantage of him. So he would develop elaborate (Rube Goldberg-esque) countermeasures to protect himself and his team from these fiendish plots. And he would also realize those evil plots themselves weren't half bad ideas and would use those too. ;)

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Remember, Heyward can be traded in 2019 and 2020 if need be. He will be able to list 12 teams (I think) or thereabouts that he can refuse to go to. After 2020, he's vests as a 10 and 5 player and can't be traded without his approval.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Ha! We're at it again! I am a big believer in the success cycle. If I am the Giants, as long as I have Posey and MadBum playing at their current level, I spend over the cap, trade prospects, sign free agents, do whatever it takes to win with those two. If I am the Cubs, I am throwing everything at winning through 2021, when the current core is in place. Especially if I am Theo, and that is when my five year contract expires. Pedal down!

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Actually, I think my Giants example follows your "lenticular cloud" theory. You're going over my head at this point (not hard to do).

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    It doesn't help that I wasn't able to put my thoughts into a coherent form in one post and then my posts wound up out of order.

    I was a "true believer" in the Success cycle in the early 2000's when it came out. And there is nothing wrong with the theory. Jonah Keri has since walked it back on fangraphs, but I think it still works in the right situation.

    My example will eventually break down, but it has a longer "window" than the success cycle which kind of presumes the window will be 1-3 years so "go hog wild" and sign/acquire everything you can get to maximize your chances to win in that window.

    To me I believe in getting to the playoffs as much as possible with a legit chance to win as often as possible rather than, "OK, boys, this is the team. Let's go ahead and throw everything we can into making this team as awesome as we can. No point in holding anything back until tomorrow which may never come."

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I basically agree with the get to the playoffs "as much as possible" approach, but within limits. For example, I actually thought the Cardinals should have traded Holliday last season, maybe some other older players, rather than make a push for that last Wild Card. Yeah, hindsight is 50/50, they might have gotten in and run the table, but sometimes I think it is okay to pull back and build a stronger team for the next few seasons.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    The Cardinals were in a really tricky spot last year. They were REALLY close to making the playoffs. And they have a history of winning it all when entering as a wild-card. That is part of why I don't like being in the wild-card hunt.

    Also, I think they saw Holliday as one of their "leaders" (rightly or wrongly). Similar to how the Cubs saw Ross. His value went far beyond his in-season "counting numbers."

    I think the Giants have come close to achieving that "lenticular cloud." Let's say that they have identified MadBum and Posey and, perhaps, Crawford as their "core" pieces. It would be wise of them to continue to try to put good talent around them. But make sure you have someone who can fill the void when Joe Panik gets expensive. Don't trade a good minor league middle infielder because he is "blocked" at the MLB level.

    If I am the Cubs FO I would have been all in on the "Success Cylcle" philosophy until Bryant and Schwarber started to pan out. Suddenly they found themselves with 2 players that most teams would drool over and would cost a King's Ransom to acquire any other way. Then add in that Baez and Russell came along and Rizzo developed into a great leader on and off the field. Suddenly they were confronted with ENORMOUS talent. That kind of talent can lead a team to put together more than a couple seasons of contention. So then I would move beyond trying to acquire a couple impact talent guys that will lead to the greatest chance to win the WS in a 2-4 year stretch to acquiring role players that understand their role. Sign them to short term deals that allow the team the financial flexibility to keep as many of the "core" together as long as possible.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    It also requires that the team make painful decisions. To me the best team in 2017 would include Dexter Fowler. And maybe we could have matched STL offer to him. But it could also possibly hurt our ability to put the best possible team around Bryant/Schwarber, etc. in the near future. By going with a cheap and very short term deal with John Jay and likely handing off the torch to Almora the Cubs will have possibly maintained their ability to pay at least 1 of their "core guys" a little bit longer. Better yet, more than 1. I doubt Almora will be a "core" guy, but it is possible. He has good leadership skills by all accounts.

    I believe that if he starts becoming expensive unless he is deemed a "core" piece he can then be shipped off in trade. Maybe even a trade to acquire young minor league talent. For this reason I want to hold onto DeWees, Wilson, Hanneman, etc. for as long as we can. If we can remove a contract or two costing $5-15M each off the books suddenly we might be able to afford the kind of raises Bryant, Russell, Schwarber, Baez, etc will command. Maybe we can't afford all, but maybe it will allow us to keep one.

    This is why I don't like trading highly talented minor league players. Even if those players are "blocked" unless we get something of significant value in return.

    The obvious "white elephant" in the room when you and I discuss this is Torres, McKinney for Chapman. Everything I have read indicates that the FO decided "This team could go all the way. We don't want to be in a position where we ask, 'What if we'd acquired...'" Maybe that was the best trade. Maybe we will look at it in 5-10 years and say, "Yes, Torres was a special talent. But winning the WS for Chicago was too important to let the opportunity pass. Once we won the first one we cleared that hurdle and then things really took off."

    I worry that they tried to make a team that was plenty good into a team that was incredible. I hope I am wrong.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    It is, of course, possible that we simply have different definitions of "Success Cycle." To me the success cycle is marked by planning to have periodic "Fire-sales" and "Re-builds." My system, while it may not maximize the chances of winning in a given season, is designed to maintain success over a longer period of time. To me a "success cycle" is unlikely to last more than 5-8 seasons (about the length of a long term contract to a key player). Mine allows for a greater likelihood of being able to maintain team success for longer than that. To me, again, the consummate example is the Braves winning almost 15 straight division titles. That is beyond where "luck" can take you. It eventually fell apart, but their philosophy was fundamentally different than what I see as the shorter-term success of the "Success Cycle." But I suppose you could argue that they are simply in the "rebuilding phase" of the Success cycle.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    To me, it's more I know it when I see it. I actually found the Yankees signing of Chapman to such an enormous contract a little counter to where I see them in the cycle. I would have kept my powder dry.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Conversely, although others may disagree, I liked the BoSox trade for Sale, despite the steep cost.

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    I think it's this one, BP...

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/author/cameron/

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    I guess this means no Travis Wood resigning. Now my "We got Wood" t-shirt is done

  • Buster olney tweeted anderson passed the physical

  • The really fun think in my mind is how much the depth of the pitching staff has grown since c2012 or so. Even without a true home-grown starting pitcher (Hendricks being probably the closest thing to one at present) on today's roster - the AAA and AA depth is quite nice.

    It hasn't been that long since 'we' regarded guys like Dallas Beeler (still would love to see him get a shot somewhere if he can stay healthy) as the 6th or 7th starter with a shot to be a #5 rotation guy, or where guys like Chris Rusin could get a spot start or two.

    Rob Z could be a factor this season, or more likely next. Thomas Hatch could be a factor in a season or two as well. Ryan Williams was looking like a factor before that set of injuries last year,....

    Love it all!

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